“I’m proud you call us gangsters, nevertheless you are wrong. We are worse, we are situationists.” — Jacqueline de Jong, 1962
A few years ago a facsimile set of the little known Situationist Times was published. Prior to that, Jackie DeJong was known mainly as one of the many somewhat faceless of those excluded from Guy Debord’s Situationist International in-group, and as a lover of Asger Jorn, a heavyweight thinker/painter also excluded from the early SI, and co-founder of the Cobra Group.
What is amazing is that DeJong was only 22 when she jump-started The Situationist Times (aided by two older Surrealist dudes), and jaunted off on some very original vectors, exploring the interconnections of topology, folk art, architectural motifs, labyrinth designs, and included short essays by mathematicians and physicists. An issue on pinball never made it to print. You get the sense of a truely lively, fresh, out-of-the-box intelligence at play, the spirit of the Situationists ala-derive of the early 60s before they shunted themselves primarily into the role of rhetoricians/theoreticians of social revolution. (Of course, one could quibble with that characterization, but thinking here mainly of Debord’s Society of the Spectacle and Vaneigem’s Traite de Savoir Vivre pour les Jeunes Generations aka The Revolution of Everyday Life.)
With a cut-and-paste, database-like assemblage aesthetic that partly defined the look and mode of the underground press and punk zines that would follow. The sensibility anticipates the psychedelic aesthetic in its exploration of patternings, but isn’t psychedelic, and makes no reference to drugs.
This fat compendium from some fun cats at The Institute for Computational Vandalism in the Netherlands, augments the existing but now hard-to-find facsimile edition (and original issues cost hundreds of dollars) with a ton of other articles, original paste-ups, comments, letters and other cool stuff, that all feels more like a true appreciation and re-framing for the current moment, and less like standard post-Situationist hagiography ie stale digestion of once radical, disruptive energies by stuffy academics:
The Situationist Times was a magazine edited and published by the Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong during the years 1962–67. In its multilingual, transdisciplinary, and cross-cultural exuberance, it became one of the most exciting and playful magazines of the 1960s. Throughout its six remarkably diverse issues, The Situationist Times challenges the notion of what it means to be a situationist, as well as traditional understandings of culture in the broader sense and of how culture is created, formatted, and shared. These Are Situationist Times! provides an in-depth history of the magazine while probing its contemporary relevance. The book also presents the material De Jong assembled in the early 1970s in collaboration with Hans Brinkman for a never realized seventh issue of The Situationist Times, devoted to the game of pinball.
Lavishly illustrated and brimming with previously unseen archival material, These Are Situationist Times! presents new and compelling perspectives on situationism, experimental publishing, and artist-run magazines.
Commissioned contributions by Éric Alliez, Ruth Baumeister, Christophe Bourseiller, Larry D. Busbea, Eric C. H. de Bruyn, Matthew Fuller, Rodolphe Gasché, Dennis Göttel, Institute for Computational Vandalism, Jakob Jakobsen, Karen Kurczynski, João Pedro Leão, İz Öztat, Juliette Pollet, Ellef Prestsæter, Margriet Schavemaker, Sean Snyder, McKenzie Wark
Historical texts by
Roland Barthes, Hans Brinkman, Max Bucaille, Friedrich Wolfram Heubach, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Friedrich Kittler, Joost Mathijsen, Piero Simondo, Gianni-Emilio Simonetti, Alexander Trocchi, Paolo Virno, Bernd Jürgen Warneken